The Sikh religion was founded by Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469. It was originally intended to bring together the best of the Hindu and Islamic religions. Its basic tenets are similar to those of Hinduism, with the important modification that the Sikhs are opposed to caste distinction and pilgrimages to rivers. They are not, however, opposed to pilgrimages to holy sites. They worship at temples known as Gurudwaras, baptise their children (when they are old enough to understand the religion) in a ceremony known as phul and cremate their dead.


The Holy book of Sikhs is the Granth Sahib, which contains the works of the 10 Sikh Gurus together with Hindu and Muslim writings. The last Guru died in 1708. In the 16th century, Guru Gobind Singh introduced military overtones into the religion in an attempt to halt the persecution the Sikhs were then suffering. A brotherhood, known as the Khalsa, was formed, and entry into it was conditional on a person undergoing baptism (amrit).

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